Australian Geographic names 50 of the best nature, environment and astronomy apps. (Credit: Getty)

Australian Geographic's top 50 apps

  • BY Jude Dineley |
  • April 09, 2013

Nature, bushwalking, astronomy, weather, photography – it's all here, in our list of top smartphone and tablet apps.

Think we've forgotten something? Email us your favourite apps.

Flora and fauna: Australia

1. Field Guide to the Whales & Dolphins of Australia, New Zealand & the Antarctic
Wildiaries
Includes stunning photos and artwork depicting all whale and dolphin species in the region, along with information about each species, including where to spot them.
Devices: iPhone
Cost: US$8.99
Download for iPhone

2. Whales NSW
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
This app provides information on all the whale species found in NSW waters and tips on how to spot them. Upload and share your sightings with other whale watchers.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for Android

3. Bunurong Marine National Park Field Guide
Museum Victoria
The Bunurong National Marine Park stretches over 6km of the Victorian coastline. This guide has maps, photos and information on habitats and more than 300 species in the park. Suitable for both armchair explorers and those in the field.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Android

4-7. Bird Apps for Booderee, Christmas Island, Uluru and Kakadu NPs
Parks Australia
This series of government-developed apps has photos, sounds and tips on where to spot birdlife in four of Australia’s national parks. Information on bushwalks and accommodation is also provided.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Cost: Free
Booderee – Download for iPhone
Christmas Island – Download for iPhone
Uluru – Download for iPhone
Kakadu National Park – Download for iPhone

8. The Michael Morcombe and David Stewart eGuide to the Birds of Australia
mydigitalearth.com
This app version of the comprehensive field guide to Australia’s birds contains over 790 species and includes photos and recordings of calls to help you recognise species in the field. The app also keeps a record of all your sightings.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: From $28.60
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Android

9. Field Guide to Victorian Fauna
Melbourne Museum
Provides information on over 700 species of fauna found in Victoria including mammals, reptiles and spiders.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

10. Sightings
Ug Media
Using a library of preloaded species and a tool which allows you to add your own customised entries, this app can be used to record your wildlife sightings. The location is recorded using the GPS on your device.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: US$2.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

11. MyEnvironment
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Using GPS, this app provides a list of protected species, shipwrecks and heritage sites in your locality, amongst other categories. A search tool allows you to explore other locations in Australia.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

12. Bird in the Hand
Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service
A field guide and sightings recorder in one, with a catalogue of 49 Tasmanian birds including photos, recordings of calls and information on each species. Upload your sightings to help researchers to build a picture of bird populations in the island state.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $1.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

13. Frog Log
Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service
This app will help you identify Tasmanian frogs in the wild and record sightings, with information, photos and recordings of their calls. Uploaded sightings will enable researchers to monitor frog populations in the state.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $0.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

14. Frogs Field Guide
Australian Museum
Contains detailed information, photos and calls from Australian frog species and can be used for interest and as an ID guide. GPS lets you know which species can be found near you.
Devices: iPhone
Cost: $0.99
Download for iPhone

15. Perth Skinks
Western Australian Museum
Includes photos, distribution maps and information to help you identify the 29 species of skink found in the Perth region in Western Australia.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $1.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

16. Global Shark Tracker
Ocearch
Track tagged great white sharks with delightful names like Princess Fi and Oprah using this app. Profiles of 36 sharks are provided along with maps of their movements along the South African and eastern US coastlines.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

17. Wilderquest – Nature Discovery
NSW Government, National Parks and Wildlife Service
This educational app allows kids to explore a virtual rainforest and coastline. The aim of the game is to find 16 Australian animals, including pademelons and quolls. (Recommended for ages 5-8)
Devices: iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPad

18. Trust Trees
National Trust
Trust Trees allows you to explore a selection of the National Trust’s register of 24,000 important trees in Victoria. Each entry gives you photos and information, plus a map for easy location.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone

19. Australian Wildflowers
Mushroom Pudding
This app is a handy ID guide to Australian wildflowers. It contains over 570 species which are searchable by colour, shape and location, as well as common and scientific names.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $2.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

Flora and fauna: Non-Australian

20. Pocket Penguins
California Academy of Sciences
Watch the colony of African penguins at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, on live penguin-cam. Listen in on Q&A sessions with biologists at meal times twice a day.
Devices: iPhone, Android
Cost: suggested donation of US$5
Download for iPhone
Download for Android

21. Pocket Zoo
Tiny Hearts Limited
Watch animals including tigers, meerkats and polar bears at zoos across the globe via live animal-cam. Also browse photos, animal facts and recorded animal sounds.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $1.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

22. Creatures of Light
American Museum of Natural History
This beautiful app from the American Museum of Natural History was created for their exhibition on the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence – when animals and plants glow. It was one of the App Store’s best apps of 2012 and contains photos, animations and information, accompanied by classical music.
Devices: iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPad

23. NHM Evolution
British Natural History Museum
This multi-featured, award-winning app takes you through 650 million years of life on Earth. Museum scientists contributed to the app, which include of illustrations of tectonic plate movements and multimedia explanations of 17 key events in the Earth’s history, including mass extinctions.
Devices: iPad
Cost: US$13.99
Download for iPad

24. Project Noah
Networked Organisms
Project Noah is a highly-acclaimed citizen science tool that includes a field guide for your location and tools for recording and sharing your wildlife sightings. Other users can help you identify flora and fauna. You can also help researchers and conservation groups with sightings for specific projects.
Devices: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for Android

25. WWF Together
World Wildlife Fund
This educational app has photos and videos of 12 of the world's most well-known endangered species, as well as fun facts and detailed information on each. A globe that you can spin with a swipe of your finger allows a search-by-location of 60 endangered species.
Devices: iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPad

Dinosaurs

26. Dinosaurs: The American Museum of Natural History Collections
The American Museum of Natural History
For dinosaur fans of all ages, this app has more than 1000 interactive images of dinosaur fossils from the museum’s collection, along with information on each. Also includes stories about the science of fossils and the people who hunted them.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free (iPhone); US$1.99 (iPad)
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

27. SM Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Creatures HD
SimpleMINIMAL
An interactive book of detailing 120 dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures. Eight hundred pages of text provide information on each species and 3D models, allowing users to view dinosaurs from all angles.
Devices: iPad
Cost: US$7.99
Download for iPad

Astronomy

28. NASA App HD
NASA Ames Research Center
Access news, images, videos and NASA TV on this multimedia app. Features include an International Space Station and satellite tracker, and launch countdown clocks.
Devices: iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPad

29. Planets
Q Continuum
Provides an interactive display of the constellations and planets visible at your location. Includes rising and setting times for the Sun, moon and planets in the solar system.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Android

30. SkEye
Harshad RJ
This app is a detailed virtual planetarium. Stargazers can identify objects in the night sky at any given time, including stars, planets and nebulae.
Devices: Android
Cost: Free
Download for Android

31. The Night Sky
iCandi Apps
Point your phone at the sky to identify stars, planets, galaxies and even satellites. This app uses GPS and its map of the sky to tell you what you are looking at.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: $1
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Android

32. Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe
HarperCollins Publishers
Take a spectacular 3D journey of the universe with Professor Brian Cox. Pictures, footage and articles are taken from the BBC television series of the same name.
Device: iPhone, iPad
Cost: US$5.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

Regions to explore

33. NaturEscapes
Destination NSW
Assists in planning travel to country and coastal New South Wales. Includes ideas for places to visit, with an emphasis on natural attractions, and tips on where to watch animals in the wild.
Devices: iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPad

34. Explore Grampians
Grampians Tourism Board
This app will help you plan your trip to the Grampians, Victoria. Includes travel routes, itineraries, walks ideas and places of interest including waterfalls, lookouts and rock art sites.
Devices: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for Android

Photography and travel

35. Stuck on Earth - Free World Travel Guide
Stuck in Customs
Contains millions of photos for you to browse by location on a world map, as well as top 50 lists highlighting waterfalls, caves and beaches.
Devices: iPad
Cost: Free
Download for iPad

36. The Photographer’s Ephemeris
Crookneck Consulting LLC
Helps to plan outdoor photography shots by gauging how much natural light there will be at any time and location. It provides sun and moon rising and setting times amongst a heap of other information.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: US$8.99 (iOS); US$4.74 (Android)
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Android

Geography and outdoors

37. My Tracks
Google Inc.
Track your route, distance, speed and elevation with this GPS app for outdoor activities. You can set markers that provide voice notifications when you reach set distances or times.
Devices: Android
Cost: Free
Download for Android

38. GPS Kit
Garafa
This acclaimed GPS app allows you to monitor your position during outdoor activities including bushwalks and mountain biking. The ‘Squawk!’ tool enables you to track your friends’ location, speed and path.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: US$9.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

39. Australia Bushwalking
Sutro Media
This app has been written by an experienced bushwalker and details over 90 walks around the country that can be browsed according to location, grade and length. Photos, maps and text describe each walk, including local geology, flora and fauna.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $4.49
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad


40. Strava Cycling
Strava Inc.
This popular GPS app for cyclists and mountain bikers lets you track details about your rides, from distance to elevation. User-set segments on a given ride allow you to compare your performances with others.
Devices: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for Android

41. Mountain Bike Trails
Total Square
This American app contains 109 mountain bike trails in Australia of varying difficulty. Uses GPS to find trails near you.
Devices: iPhone
Cost: $1.99
Download for iPhone

42. iCrag – Arapiles
iCrag
iCrag has produced an app version of the rock climbing guide for Mt Arapiles. Includes climb descriptions, photos and approach maps for the hundreds of graded climbs.
Devices: iPhone
Cost: $29.99
Download for iPhone

43. iCrag – Melbourne
iCrag
Similar to the Arapiles app, this version details rock climbing guides for areas surrounding Melbourne.
Devices: iPhone
Cost: $14.99
Download for iPhone

Weather and environment

44. Pocket Weather Australia
ShiftyJelly
Local weather forecasts and observations based on Bureau of Meteorology data. Includes rain radars, satellite images and tidal data.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: $1.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Android

45. AU Tides Pro
Wingism
Basic tidal information for beachgoers, rockpoolers and surfers. The app has a catalogue of tide times and heights for 578 locations around Australia and a GPS tool that shows tidal information for nearby locations.
Devices: iPhone, iPad
Cost: US$1.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad

Health and safety

46. Reptile Rescue
Stephen Northcott
This app provides an ID guide and a tool for reporting snake sightings in Tasmania. It also provides information on each of the three snake species found in the state and what to do if you are bitten.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Android

47. SunSmart
Cancer Council Victoria
This app provides the UV levels for your location, tells you if you’re getting enough vitamin D and advises what sun protection you need, based on information from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Devices: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone
Download for Android

48. Australian First Aid - Pocket Guide
Tootable Pty Ltd
Treat common injuries and medical emergencies. Includes a section on bites and stings.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch
Cost: $1.99
Download for iPhone

Camping

49. What Knot To Do
Columbia Sportswear
Provides illustrations and step-by-step instructions for 70 knots that will help in a range of outdoor activities.
Devices: iPhone
Cost: Free
Download for iPhone

50. Wikicamps Australia
Angry Robot
Plan your camping trip using a user-built database that includes campsites, caravan parks and points of interest. Facilities and activities are listed and sites are rated by users.
Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: $2.99
Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Android

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